November 25, 2012

Fire in fireplace

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Happy Holidays to all who celebrate!

The above photograph and salutation are certainly a cliche.  What is definitely not a cliche though, is the deep comfort that comes from sharing time with those who are meaningful.  Along with this wish comes the recognition that for some, this time is spent within one’s own mind as there is much that interferes with experiencing the physical warmth that comes from being physically close.  For those, it is hoped that this time is indeed short.

Downed pine needles and leaves on snow

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

As has become common this year, there was a wide swing in temperatures in the Mid-Atlantic this week.  Wednesday and Thursday were in the high 50s-Friday was a day of transition and Saturday brought the second snow of the season to the western part of Maryland.  The first was Superstorm Sandy which left quite a mess.  Amid that destruction, though, were some quiet scenes of the serenity that a change of season, and perspective, can bring.  I would add that this thought is in no way meant to diminish the experiences of those still coping with the terrific losses inflicted by Sandy.

Rock and pine trees with light dusting of snow

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Having said that, one’s mindset is a key element in determining the subjective experience as there are often occasions when some chilliness descends.  While Saturday’s snow was just a light dusting, it provided that unique contradiction which comes with living in the moment.  While the environmental temperature was certainly much colder (25 degrees with wind), emotionally the snow brought a warmth similar to that of the fire that opened this post.

Take care.


November 19, 2012

Church steeple and contrails

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The world appears to be in quite a mess at the moment with many events occurring simultaneously.

Trashcans in alleyway

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

I have written multiple posts about Superstorm Sandy and climate change and the lack of meaningful progress toward a solution.  Many more on trash, which, of course, continues to pile up.  Conflicts in the Middle East and Northern Africa appear to show no sign of relief, and in some cases, are escalating.  This list could go on.  As a result, it is quite pleasant to take a walk through a (relatively) quiet town and revel in the stillness of the back streets.

Christmas tree in restaurant window

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

And while it is certainly a pushing of the season to have had Christmas decorations up since just after Halloween, it is nice to think about the spirit of the holidays, whichever are celebrated.  The consumerism that comes with some is quite a different matter altogether.  It is best to not think about that.

Take care.

Weather Roller Coaster

November 15, 2012

Telephone pole and autumn leaves

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Hurricane or Superstorm Sandy has long since passed although her effects remain (and will so for awhile) in New Jersey and New York.  Meanwhile, here in the Mid-Atlantic, Spring seems to have made a brief return over this past weekend as the temperature was in the low 60s Friday, followed by the low 70s on Saturday, before settling back into the 40s on Wednesday.  Had a pretty decent frost Tuesday night, too.

Telephone pole and autumn leaves

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

It is quite surprising that so many trees are hanging onto their leaves this deep into November-even more so considering a hurricane went through just over two weeks ago.

Buildings along Patrick Street

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The warmer weather did make for nice walking and clear, blue skies.

Street in late afternoon

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

However, the inevitable returned and there is now a chill in the air requiring a bit of bundling to stay warm.  This feels like fall.

Take care.


November 6, 2012

“Football  is not a contact sport-dancing is a contact sport. Football is a collision sport.”  Vince Lombardi

I have written before about the length of my commute and the various objects and issues I have encountered. This post is another of those and is about collisions-albeit not the type found on a football field.  The main difference between this and previous posts about my ride is that the images included are not of inanimate objects, but of a living creature rendered inanimate.  They are not pretty pictures, so feel free to bypass this post. Read the rest of this entry »

New York and New Orleans

November 4, 2012

Industrial Canal Seawall with the Lower 9 to the right

Copyright 2008 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

In the immediate aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the question(s) about the devastation in New York is not about whether New York would re-build, but how and in what way.  In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the questions and proposed solutions for New Orleans were quite a bit different as politicians and engineers argued against the investment.

It seems that the 3 biggest issues in real estate (Location, Location, Location) really do matter.

Both cases present an ever more important reality-as the climate changes, it appears that ocean levels will continue to rise and storms will become more frequent and have greater intensity.  The majority of the population of the United States lives in the coastal regions and therefore these areas contain a massive amount of infrastructure that proves to be quite vulnerable in the face of such power.  By the time Katrina hit New Orleans, she was a Category 3 Hurricane; Sandy was a Category 1 that was downgraded by the time she arrived in New York.  The point here is that neither of these storms were as strong as hurricanes can get (Category 5), yet they killed hundreds and created billions of dollars of damage (the estimate for Sandy appears to be 50 billion dollars).

Of particular interest is the discussion of creating salt marshes as a buffer-zone to protect New York from such storms as the loss of wetlands has been blamed for some of the hurricane-related destruction of New Orleans.

At some point, we will need to get serious about mitigating climate change instead of building our way out of storm damage.  The alternative would be for many to re-locate.

Take care.

Repair trucks on standby post Superstorm Sandy

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Superstorm Sandy finally dissipated and has left in her wake over 70 deaths (two in Maryland) and billions of dollars of damage. She certainly lived up to her name and her aftermath is quite visible via local and national media-or just a walk around the neighborhood.  Now comes the time for the assessment, clean-up, and repair.   Heartfelt condolences to all who have, and are, suffering as a result of the storm.

Standing water in field post Superstorm Sandy

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography.. All rights reserved.

The Baltimore, Maryland area received about 6-7″ of rain, which was enough to leave standing water and loosen the soil so as to make it easier for the wind to knock down trees.   When compared to the snowfall in the western part of the state and West Virginia and the damage in New York and New Jersey, this area fared not too badly.  Amid all this devastation, one of the actual benefits of Sandy was the amount of rainfall that found its way into the local ponds, lakes, and reservoirs.  Below is a photograph of the Liberty Reservoir made the day before Sandy’s arrival:

Liberty Reservoir at pre Superstorm Sandy level

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Liberty Reservoir with higher water levels post Superstorm Sandy

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Above is the same section the day after Sandy departed the area.  Liberty Reservoir has had issues with low water levels of late as a result of the minimal snowfall last winter and the overall scarcity of rain throughout spring and summer.  Sandy certainly provided enough moisture to bring the water level back to respectability.  


Road view of Liberty Reservoir post Superstorm Sandy

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

However, while increasing the volume of water is certainly helpful, there are other worrisome effects, largely unseen, that can occur when so much water arrives in a relatively short period of time.  In January 2012, the Maryland Department of the Environment submitted the “Watershed Report for Biological Impairment of the Liberty Reservoir Watershed in Baltimore and Carroll Counties, Maryland Biological Stressor Identification Analysis Results and Interpretation”, which can be read here.  The “Water Chemistry” section (please see page 16) indicates that there are issues with the levels of nitrogen, ammonia, and chlorides within the Reservoir.  The report goes on to state that “During rain events, surface runoff transports water over the land surface and discharges to the stream system.” (page 17) As the Liberty Reservoir is crisscrossed by several roads and there is a combination of urban development and rural farming within the watershed, there is ample opportunity for pollutants to eventually gain access to the water.  It would be useful to know how much more pollution was carried into the Reservoir as a result of Sandy.

Runoff pollution is not just an issue for the Liberty Reservoir in particular or Maryland in general as many states are issuing warnings about water contamination from toxins washing into waterways as a result of Sandy-please see here and here and here.  This storm inundated such a large section of the east coast before moving inland and therefore moved through some of the most heavily populated and industrialized areas of the country.  As a result, many chemical pollutants are being carried into various waterways and they could pose health risks to many biological organisms.  Time will tell.

Superstorm Sandy took quite awhile to get here and did not leave soon enough.  For many, the effects will be much longer lasting.

Take care.